Soave Hydroponics cogeneration facility incorporates innovative sustainable energy and growing practices.
Soave Hydroponics Company began looking at ways to deal with the rising cost of energy and soon realized that a cogeneration system could help offset the high cost of energy while also helping the environment. Soave Agricultural Group and Soave Hydroponics Company are the first to implement a greenhouse application in North America to successfully install a cogeneration system of such capacity.
Located 25 miles southeast of Windsor, Great Northern Hydroponics operates a 50-acre greenhouse where more than 2.1 million cases of gourmet tomatoes are grown and supplied annually to grocery stores and restaurants in and around metro Detroit. The plant’s state-of-the-art tri-generation facility burns natural gas to generate heat, electricity, and CO2.
The Tri-Generation Facility
The 12 MW system features four GE-Jenbacher JMS 620 gas engines as well as heat recovery and exhaust treatment equipment, noise abatement and systems controls. The cogeneration plant operates with a system efficiency better than 93% and will provide enough electricity to the Ontario grid to power approximately 15,000 Canadian homes. The province gets a clean and reliable electricity source, while Great Northern Hydroponics gets the heat (for warming the greenhouses) and CO2 (for plant fertilization); it is a win-win situation.
Consequently, the system saves Soave Hydroponics and Great Northern plenty of money while simultaneously offering the Ontario province gains advantages as well. For example, the greenhouse will act as a cooling unit for the power plant’s engines, which transmit electricity to the Canadian homes. In fact, Great Northern’s President Darrin Didychuk signed a 20-year power purchase contract with the government of Ontario to generate the 12 mega-watt electrical power facility.
The CO2, meanwhile, will be consumed by the tomato plants in the greenhouse. Because carbon dioxide is a key component of photosynthesis, the energy facility will also provide the greenhouse with this necessary “fertilizer” for the greenhouse’s tomato crop.
That’s on top of Soave Enterprises’ other innovative growing practices, including raised troughs, run-off fertilizer recycling, computerized louvers and climate controls, as well as biological pest management. All of which results in tomatoes that are high in nutrients. The tomatoes are also pesticide- and herbicide-free, and have a long shelf life and exemplify Anthony Soave’s commitment to providing an exceptional product.
As a result of installing the special cogeneration system, Great Northern Hydroponics will be able to reduce its energy costs without curtailing its annual production levels, thus improving its competitive position in the commercial tomato industry. Consequently it is one of Soave Enterprises’ prized facilities.
“The project represents the only one of its kind and will be the most technically advanced and environmentally sustainable projects of its kind anywhere in North America,” explained Didychuk.
Continuing the Vision of Sustainability
The goal of Soave Agricultural Group is to achieve the perfect integration between agriculture and technology in a society that is environmentally sustainable and responsible. Soave Agricultural Group and Soave Hydroponics are very confident that all aspects of the business conform to this ambition and are proud to be on the path to a bright and clean future with a watch-full eye to the environment
From the early days of his first company, Anthony Soave has had a commitment to integrating innovative technology and partnerships. Whether it is developing partnerships between industry associations, government energy plants, or community programs, Tony Soave encourages each of his diverse companies to look for new opportunities in every aspect of their business.
Soave Agricultural Group is a member of Soave Enterprises, a diversified management and investment company founded by Detroit businessman Anthony Soave. Soave Enterprises provides strategic planning, financial and other management resources to its affiliated business ventures in the real estate, automotive retailing, beer distribution, scrap metal, industrial services and agricultural industries, among others. For more information on Anthony Soave and Soave Enterprises, please visit http://www.soave.com.
3400 E Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48207